59 CIL will have to exploit deeper coal seams to add to its extractable

59 cil will have to exploit deeper coal seams to add

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59 CIL will have to exploit deeper coal seams to add to its extractable reserves as many of the best shallow coal seams are now depleted, and the company has created very little new underground mining capacity for several decades. 60 40% of India’s coal resource lies beyond 300 m. depth, 61 and these resources are for all practical purposes inaccessible without significant new investments in machinery and training to best exploit deep coal reserves. If CIL were to start making these investments today, it will take several years to manifest in terms of enhanced production. The case that few undiscovered shallow coal seams remain is strengthened by results of the Geological Survey of India’s regional exploration in 2010-11. 62 In 2010-11 the GSI explored 24 blocks/areas spread over 11 coalfields. A total of 115 coal seams were encountered. 79 of these seams were at depths of 150 m. or more, and of these 79 seams, as many as 43 were encountered at depths of 300 m. or more. A shift to underground mining will require a much smaller land footprint, potentially making community consent and regulatory approval easier to come by. However, a greater reliance on underground mining will have implications in terms of higher costs and lower output, since underground mining techniques are generally able to extract only 40-70% of a given coal deposit. 63 ii. 57% Of CIL’s Reserves Lie In Coalfields With Extensive Forest Cover, 64 where permits will be more difficult to obtain Much of CIL’s existing (virgin/untapped) extractable reserves lie in areas that are forested. CIL has also shown a preference to develop new mines in forest areas rather than outside forest areas, possibly to minimize land acquisition, compensation and community rehabilitation issues. However, opposition to open-pit mines in forest areas is growing on social and environmental grounds. This will make regulatory approvals and community consent (mandatory in the case of forest-dependent 17 Coal India: Running on empty? Figure 4: Coal India Production Growth Rate, 2005-2013 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 2003-04 2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 % growth
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Coalfield Extractable Reserve (mn tonnes) Percentage of area covered by forest Singrauli 1695.95 42 Talcher 3665.15 40.37 Ib Valley 2546.96 48.84 N. Karanpura 456.04 34.93 Mandraigarh 2126.7 49.7 Table 2: Percentage of Forest Cover in Major Coalfields Figure 5: Percentage of forest cover in major coalfields 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Mandraigarh (2.12 bt) N. Karanpura (4.56 bt) Ib Valley (2.54 bt) Talcher (3.66 bt) Singrauli (1.69 bt) Forest Non-forest The Ministry of Environment and Forests has invited opinion on its proposal for a system of inviolate forest areas 69 that will bar mining in certain forest areas. 70 Implementation of this system will further reduce CIL’s extractable reserves. Though there is coal available outside forest areas, CIL will then need to invest in the process of securing community consent, land acquisition, compensation and rehabilitation.
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